History: September 2019 Archives

Rocket scientists mourn end of Redstone Arsenal's RSIC library, AL.com

"The Army is closing what its supporters say is one of the world's great rocket science libraries in Alabama next week, and veterans of America's space program are angry. ... The decision to close was made early this year and posted on the aerospace blog Spaceref. But it is not believed widely known in Huntsville, where more than a few rocket Phds did their doctoral research among the library's stacks. Unconfirmed reports have some current Army and NASA managers sending teams to the library to check out selected books and stack them in conference rooms and out-of-the-way places for saving. One project engineer posted in a group chat that RSIC "has been valuable to understand the basic equations of vibroacoustic modeling and see how others are using them. I don't think these techniques are taught in college. In my job, historical data is absolutely a necessity."

Announcement Regarding Redstone Scientific Information Center (RSIC) Transition to Virtual, SpaceRef

"The virtual RSIC will consist of online-only access to scientific and technical journals and ebooks, plus a repository for electronic versions of technical documents. The printed books and journals RSIC currently holds will be disposed of IAW applicable Army regulation; the printed technical documents (other than NASA documents) will be digitized and stored in the online document library. Access to online journal content should be available on 1 October; the electronic document repository will be brought online incrementally, with full availability by July 2021."

Keith's note: I guess its time for everyone in Huntsville who is concerned about this to go to the library with a hand truck and check out as many books as they can - and not return them. Strange how NASA provided the vast majority of the funds to build this library and the Army gets to shut it down.

Ohio senators propose renaming NASA site for Neil Armstrong, AP

"Ohio's U.S. senators want Congress to rename a NASA research facility in Ohio after astronaut Neil Armstrong. Republican Rob Portman and Democrat Sherrod Brown introduced legislation Thursday to honor the Ohio native by renaming the NASA Plum Brook Station in Sandusky. Portman says he raised the idea with Armstrong in 2012, a year before Armstrong's death. The senator says Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, wasn't comfortable with the attention it would bring. Portman says he has since spoken with NASA and Armstrong's family and they support renaming the facility."

Keith's note: Wait a minute we already have a NASA Facility named after Neil Armstrong - NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center (AFRC). Don't these congressional staffers have Google to check this stuff out before running it up to their boss? Or is NASA going to have two centers/facilities named "Armstrong"? I wonder what the good people of Sandusky think about this? Besides much of this facility is no longer even used - parts of it have already been demolished and the reactor has been decommissioned. How many Orion and Service Module tests are going to be done there before GRC has to go out and find something new to do with the old buildings. Oh yes a reader reminds me that NASA/KSC also has the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Facility just east of the HQ building, which is where Orion is assembled and tested. If NASA is not done honoring Neil Armstrong then perhaps picking a quasi abandoned facility out in the woods is not the best way to do so. Maybe Jeff Bezos can name a rocket after him.

NASA Honors Astronaut Neil Armstrong with Center Renaming, Earlier post (2014)

"Two generations of aerospace engineering excellence will come together March 1 when NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, Calif., is redesignated NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center."

Dakota Creek launches R/V Neil Armstrong , Earlier post (2014)

"Dakota Creek Industries (DCI) launched the oceanographic research ship R/V Neil Armstrong (AGOR 27) at its Anacortes, WA, shipyard on February 22nd, 2014. Construction of theĀ  R/V Neil Armstrong and her sister vessel R/V Sally Ride (AGOR 28), also well under way at DCI, have progressed according to plan, meeting original schedule and cost baselines."

Bad News From Earth

11 September 2001: Bad news from Earth, SpaceRef

"The news from Earth that morning wasn't good. Frank Culbertson would soon find that some of the day's pre-planned routine would be altered. As soon as he was told of the attacks, Culbertson checked to see when they would be passing over the east coast of the U.S. Discovering that this was only some minutes away, Culbertson grabbed a camera. The window in Mikhail Tyurin's cabin turned out to be the one with the best view."

Keith's note: I have lived in the Metro Washington DC area for 33 years - more than half my life. When I first moved to DC to work at NASA HQ I lived in Pentagon City directly across from the Pentagon in the River House III apartment building. The Pentagon was what I saw outside my window every single day. In the afternoons after work I often used to run on the road between the old heliport and the west side of the Pentagon - right where American Airlines Flight 77 struck. This image still makes me shudder. As I would run by I'd always note a window where the yellow crane is in the left side of the image. There was always a red begonia in the window. I could easily drag my fingers on the smooth limestone surface of the building as I ran by. There was simply no real security back then.

Had I still lived in my old apartment on 9-11 this horror would have unfolded outside my home's window. A friend of mine was driving to work and saw the plane come in. Others I knew were in the building and felt the impact. On a stunningly beautiful day we had been attacked in a brutal way by an unknown enemy.

I was home in Reston, Virginia near Dulles Airport desperately trying to post accurate info on NASAWatch. I was getting calls from NASA HQ about a plane circling the Mall and of another one coming up the Potomac. No one knew what was going on. American Airlines Flight 77 flew out of Dulles and almost certainly flew over my house. Later that day the skies went silent and jet fighters buzzed my house. One of my neighbors never came home.

One thing I'll never forget the flag someone had spontaneously draped across the railing atop the pedestrian bridge on Wiehle Avenue near my house the day after the attack. It was an old 48 star flag. It looked to have been folded in triangular fashion many, many years ago and had only been unfolded that day ...

I stayed away from downtown for several weeks since the Pentagon area was a mess. When I did eventually drive into town I saw that the State Route 110 exit sign from I-66 toward the Pentagon said "CLOSED". It all hit me again. A week or so later when I first saw the Pentagon from 110 when it reopened I almost hit another car since I was making the exit to Pentagon City. That scar on the building was overwhelming. A few minutes later I stood atop the Pentagon City parking garage and could see it in all of its gruesome glory. I was weak in the knees. I used to look out on this building for 3 years every single day. Now it bore a wound that defied belief.

Just the other day I was being driven into town to do a TV interview and the driver drove down the diverted path State Route 110 now takes around the Pentagon, I could still see the path it once took. I could also see places I used to run that are now behind fortified fencing. It is impossible to see that window on the other side of the Pentagon where the red begonias once bloomed due to fortifications that have since been built. A memorial now stands where I used to run.

The office with the flowers was devastated and has since been replaced. I'd like to think that the new occupants like begonias.


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This page is an archive of entries in the History category from September 2019.

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